Mark Watches ‘Farscape’: S03E18 – Fractures

In the eighteenth episode of the second season of Farscape, this show is too much. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Farscape.

Trigger Warning: For discussion of grief.

Goddamn, y’all, this was such a fantastic episode. Challenging and funny and thrilling, it combined all the things that make Farscape such a fulfilling show to watch. This show constantly takes risks that could fail terribly, and THEY DON’T. Like, has there ever been an example of this kind of interpersonal drama on television before this???

I’ll talk more about that in a bit. “Fractures” opens with what we think might be a reunion between the crew on Moya and the crew on Talyn, but instead, it’s more like a repeat of what started off this show. A group of prisoners who’ve just taken over a Peackekeeper transport pod are asking for asylum. And right from the start, this is a surreal journey. Another Nebari! A PK Tech guy! A SCARRAN. And, finally fulfilling a dream of mine, ANOTHER HYNERIAN. Another Hynerian.

It’s amazing to me that this episode then reveals that these creatures were meant to be living test subjects for the Peacekeepers’ test of some new weapon, which seems like an incredibly huge thing to reveal, and then I COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT THIS UNTIL THE END. It’s understandable! So much happens over the course of “Fractures,” and the one thing that stuck out to me was how quickly D’Argo, Chiana, and Rygel bonded with one of the prisoners. (Of note is the fact that Aeryn turns away the prisoner that’s technically her kind, too.) There’s been so much exploration of companionship in this season. A lot of that has dealt with Crichton and Aeryn’s relationship, and that’s obviously a huge part of this episode. But we also know how lonely these characters have been, and episodes as recently as “Revenging Angel” showed us that D’Argo and Jool were both desperate for some sort of companionship.

So, the universe drops these characters into their laps. Chiana, who left her people because she refused to conform to their horrifying standards, quickly grows close to Hubero, another Nebari who was even more susceptible to discrimination from Nebari culture because they were intersex. (An intersex character! ON TELEVISION! And portrayed positively! I’d celebrate this more, but the show then kills them off forty minutes later, and that negates the representation. SIGH.) (Is Naj Gil alive at the end of all this? I didn’t see him in that last scene.) Rygel… well, I was going to say “bonds,” but that seems like an understatement. Rygel gets very intimate with Orhnn. VERY. INTIMATE. While it’s not developed as much as the other pairings, even D’Argo finds himself eager to see Naj Gil as a friend and worthy of protection.

Which is precisely the problem with this: each person is unwilling to consider that their new friend is the traitor who shot Boolite (what the fuck WHAT THE HELL IS THAT CREATURE) and signaled the Peackekeepers. Y’all, it’s such a devious way of building suspense because I WANTED NONE OF THESE PEOPLE TO BE TRAITORS. They’re all likable and they each have something in common with… well, a ship full of one-time prisoners of Peacekeepers. It makes it harder to be suspicious, and it’s frustrating. Like I mentioned earlier, these people are so goddamn lonely, and I just want them to have some happiness.

Amidst this, we’ve got undeniable evidence that Chiana can predict the future. Y’all, Hubero gave her a look, and I suspect Hubero knew what this was, but NOPE, HUBERO IS DEAD, THANKS FARSCAPE. What’s going on here? There’s also a beautiful little subplot involving the living jigsaw puzzle that is Boolite, which gives us pretty much the only scenes between Jool and Crais in the series so far. I love that the writers didn’t forget that they told us that she was a medical student! Watching her amusement at Crais’s inability to recognize Boolite’s different body parts was a delight.

As fun as “Fractures” could be and as thrilling as it got at times, the entire thing is appropriately weighted down by the return of Aeryn Sun to Moya. Like I said in my review for “The Choice,” I felt agonized watching her, but I appreciate that the show respects her emotional state. They are allowing her to do uncomfortable things onscreen because she has to cope with the loss of Crichton in her own way. Here, she spends the entirety of “Fracture” refusing to look at the other Crichton at all. In fact, until the final scene, I think you could actually prove that! She bids him hello, and then she ignores him in every way possible in every scene. She’s often got her back to him, too, and it’s a clear physical communication that she has no interest in having any sort of conversation about this.

It’s heartbreaking to watch. Can you blame Aeryn for this reaction? She just went through what was arguably the most traumatic experience of her life, watching both Crichton and Xhalax die, and now she’s back on a ship with Crichton? How does that work? How can she deal with the fact that she might have already begun to move on from Crichton? I was so thankful for that scene where D’Argo offered up advice, and then admitted that advice was impossible. This has literally never happened before, no one has experience with it, and it’s a horrific mess. There’s so much complicated shit to work through, like, for example, the fact that Aeryn now has memories and experiences with Crichton that she does not have with this Crichton. (That Budong comment wasn’t okay at all, oh my god.) How do you deal with that?

I think the clue to a possible solution for all of this is in those final two scenes. When Crichton does get to see what message Stark left behind in his mask, he discovers that it’s a message from the other version of himself. The Scarrans aren’t a threat anymore, but Scorpius is still close to some sort of development with wormhole technology. While this definitely influences Crichton’s dramatic plan in the final scene, it was that gut-wrenching rock, paper, scissors sequence that destroyed me. As Aeryn watches on, she gets a sign that might help remind that these are the same people. The Crichton on Moya is the same man she fell in love with, and I think that’s why she chose to stand beside him when he said he was going to go to Scorpius directly. It’s a step, y’all, and while there’s so much other shit to deal with, it’s a bit of hope for these two.


The video for “Fractures” can be downloaded here for $0.99.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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